Misogyny in Fandom

October 20, 2016 § Leave a comment

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Julia writes,

I can’t deal with (internalized) misogyny in fandom anymore. I’m so tired of fandom making everything about dudes. I pretty much exclusively watch shows with a female point of view and several amazing, well-written, complex female characters, but somehow the fandoms of these shows are still all about the male characters. It’s so frustrating that after episodes full of great character development for women and meaningful interaction between women, all everyone wants to talk about are the two scenes of their male fav doing nothing of importance. And it hurts me so much to see women being called bitches, crazy and worse in a predominantly female space. I’m tired of feeling like I’m less important, less interesting, less of a person simply because of my gender.

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Leaving Camp

January 19, 2016 § Leave a comment

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World-Weary Woman writes,

My problem is that I no longer get excited about my favorite shows or ships coming back. Mostly because of all the negativity on the Internet these days and because I’ve always been on the outside looking in on the fangirls making friends and having fun. I don’t know if I can’t get excited for the return of The 100 because I’ve been burned so many times by other shows and fandoms. Or that I’m officially too old to fangirl and should just put myself out to pasture.

Any suggestions on how I can regain my fangirl flame?

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Party of One

December 17, 2015 § Leave a comment

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Contentless in Cleveland writes,

I’m in love with an actress who, though by no means obscure, does not have an active fandom at all. If I want to look at GIFs of her pretty face, I have to make them myself. Her tumblr tag is full of dudes she just happens to have costarred with once. A new post about her appears on Instagram less than once per week, and then it’s usually just a poster for a film she appeared in (no starring role = no face on said poster). I have reached the bottom of her Getty Images page several times (JUST FOUR PAGES). Needless to say, there is no fanfiction to read about any of her characters.

What’s a fangirl to do when all she wants is the quick rush of seeing new content about her fave, and there is never any to be found? Am I all alone here? Hellooooooooo?

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Gimme A Break

August 11, 2015 § Leave a comment

Prisca writes,

 I wanted to ask how I should take a break from my fandom. I love my fandom (1D), and I love going on Tumblr and being showered with funny posts that make my day. But lately I’ve been a little overwhelmed with everything that’s going on. Most people on Tumblr freak out when crazy news pops up. They cry and say, “This is too much. This is why I get no sleep.” I hate when people get too attached to them as if we own them. 

I think I should take a small break like I did last year for about 2 months. I think I’ll just leave for one month this time, but I don’t want to miss out on the thing that makes me laugh the most on a day to day basis. I know school is coming up on the first and I’ll be busy, but I really love being on Tumblr. I don’t know if I should take a break now and cut it cold turkey or if I should wait for a good time during the school year, or for a whole semester.

I just wanted to ask when you think I should stop and if maybe I’ll feel better after the drama cools over. I just need to chill for a moment but I don’t want to miss out. What do you think the problem is/when should I take the break? Thank you.

Prisca! Thank you for asking such a wonderful question. The cold turkey question is one I come up against again and again as a fangirl. I can’t tell you how many times people type “how do I stop fangirling” into Google every day. No literally, I can’t. GEEZ GOOGLE.

In the field of addiction, there’s a huge debate about whether helping someone with an alcohol problem means helping them stop drinking all together (aka sobriety), or reducing their drinking (aka harm reduction). While fangirling is nowhere near as serious as a drinking problem, our brains can still get stuck in that pattern of needing that dopamine to keep us happy. So rather than pulling out the rug from under our feels, you have to learn to train your brain to think differently about One Direction.

I’ve been reading a lot lately about how to keep your brain healthy and insightful. In Mindsight, Dr. Dan Siegel talks about how in order to have good mental health, we have to encourage neuroplasticity in the brain. Neuroplasticity is a fancy laidbackword for how your brain builds new connections between neurons. The more connections there are, the more your mind is equipped to deal with the rough stuff. Even the drama of fandom! People will continue to freak out, but you won’t have to hit that panic button. You’ll just be chillin, Prisca.

So to be a more chill fangirl, you need neuroplasticity. How do you get it? Siegel says there are 3 basic ways:

  1. Exercise – More than any mental exercise, physical exercise benefits your brain the most. So being active is super important. Your butt should be moving and not forever planted in front of your computer on Tumblr.
  2. Novelty – Your fangirl brain needs to be exposed to new experiences and thoughts. So if you’re stuck on the same ship, the same fic, and the same Internet conversations, your brain becomes more rigid or chaotic in stressful situations. Visit a museum, read a new book, or take a class and learn how to do something new. Novelty is golden.
  3. Emotional Arousal – is the fangirl’s middle name. Yeah, I think we’ve got this one covered. Siegel says that engaging our emotions helps our brain form new connections. But don’t limit your emotional involvement to just two fictional idiots who haven’t kissed yet! Or in your case, the same 1D member’s personal drama. Find other causes and real life stories that ignite your passion.

So Prisca, yes hopping up and down in front of the TV with creys about a new ship covers these 3 basics. But the more creative you can be with building neuroplasticity, the less the fandom drama will bug you. You’ll be able to enjoy 1D without feeling emotionally sucked into the latest news.

Whether that means taking a break or not is up to you! If you’re adding some new experiences and interests to your daily routine, fangirling should be less of a chore and more of a treat. Flex your brain, and you’ll be ready for anything.

Friendship, The Best Ship

September 28, 2014 § Leave a comment

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Jealousy always has been my cross, the weakness and woundedness in me that has most often caused me to feel ugly and unlovable, like the Bad Seed. I’ve had many years of recovery and therapy, years filled with intimate and devoted friendships, yet I still struggle. I know that when someone gets a big slice of pie, it doesn’t mean there’s less for me. In fact, I know that there isn’t even a pie, that there’s plenty to go around, enough food and love and air.  But I don’t believe it for a second. I secretly believe there’s a pie. I will go to my grave brandishing my fork. 
 – Anne Lamott

Spend two seconds in any fandom and you will see jealousy flare its ugly head. Fangirls act like they own a character, or they dismiss anyone who disagrees with them. They secretly hate those with more of a following or those who’ve met a certain celebrity.  Anywhere there are humans on this planet there will be competition, so flailing over an OTP or debate over characterization is no exception.  But did you know that that your emotions are the most tasty when you hand over the pie and let someone else have a slice?

Last weekend I went on a fangirl road trip to visit some of my tumblr friends (then twitter friends now real life friends).  Two of us left after a long day of work at 9pm for a 6 hour road trip to meet our friends. And I can tell you without a doubt that arriving at a person’s house you’ve never met, in a strange city, at 3:30 in the morning, is the reason I am fangirl.  It’s like getting to be a kid again, but with wine.  When you meet women with whom you have shared the spectrum of emotions over the stories and characters you love, it’s like coming home. There is no need to impress, no need to size up, no need to compete in the manner that plagues so many of our adult relationships.

If you spend a lot of time complaining about interacting in a fandom, then it’s probably because you’re not doing it right. If you feel anxious because someone posted a picture of a celebrity before you do, or stole your fic idea, then you’ve failed to set your sights on the best part of fandom. The ship that sails faster and farther than the most life-ruining of OTPs. Friendship.

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Unless you make them up yourself, you can never own a character, or a pairing, or a story.  Sure, maybe you write better Vampire Diaries fanfic than anyone else ever has. Even better than Diane Lockhart’s housekeeper. But when we fangirl, we are borrowing characters. We’re taking them off the shelf, dusting them off, and taking them for a spin. But the shelf isn’t yours. The house isn’t even yours. You’re a guest, and you can spend that time bossing around the other visitors, or you can start paying attention to some of the absolutely fabulous people who just so happen to have stopped by.

The best fandom friends are the ones who root for your story as much as they do for your favorites in fiction. So don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to someone, or to shake someone off who’s bringing you down. Life is too short to get stuck in what’s temporary. Your interests may be transitory, but your confidantes don’t have to be.

 

 

 

SCIENCE!

August 13, 2014 § Leave a comment

We interrupt your regularly scheduled creys to bring you some fangirl science. 

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Why mess with perfection, am I right? And for the psych folks. . .

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Hairporn and subtext can power an armada of ships. Whereas angsty yelling is a more coveted but rarer vessel. 

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